In winter and fall, our productivity most often decreases: it is difficult to wake up and collect our thoughts. It is also very difficult to stay positive and motivated. As a result, we may lose the desire to work.
We decided to do a survey of the authors and readers of our Optimist.pw blog. We asked them to share ways that help them stay productive during the cold season. And this is what we found out.
1. Allow yourself more rest in the winter
To stay productive during the cold season with minimal hours of sunshine you need, as it’s common to say among business coaches, to be resourceful. And rest is what makes up for it.
For example, to take a break from work, you can turn on cheerful music and dance. Or do yoga, read, or sometimes just lie down for 15 minutes with my eyes closed. This little distraction replenishes the charge and restores my energy. I try to pause every hour to rest.
In winter the productivity naturally decreases, this should be taken into account. And here it is important to understand that you can’t make all the money in the world. That is why it is better to put your mental and physical health first – listen to yourself and do what you really want to do.
2. Try to work more outside the home
It’s a bit of a weird but effective tip – load yourself up with things to do: constantly going somewhere, meeting with someone. Yes, you don’t want to leave the house in the winter. But in the end, the days I spent out of the house were much easier and more productive.
It seems warm and cozy in the house, but it’s a deception: you end up feeling completely unwilling to do anything. In order not to find yourself in a state of apathy, you have to keep moving and maintain your usual pace.
3. Ventilate the room regularly
It’s no secret that fresh air is very invigorating. In winter, when the temperature of the radiators resembles a “hell boiler”, it is very helpful tip. For a few hours of work in a stuffy room, the brain literally boils, and this is not okay.
So I ventilate the room several times a day. I open the door to the balcony and leave it open for 10 minutes. I run away from the draught myself: I go to make tea or do a little exercise. Such breaks, a change of picture in front of my eyes and fresh air help me get back to my tasks and run my fingers over the keyboard a little faster.
4. Start using smart bulbs
The most difficult thing for many people in winter is to observe the regime of the day, because it directly affects the productivity. There is very little sun in the windows, it is almost always dark, even in the morning. Sometimes people do not hear the alarm clock and do not feel like someone is waking them up. And when they do get up, they feel broken and sleep-deprived.
What to do? As an option: order a light bulb in the bedroom that simulates the dawn. These are so-called smart bulbs with a special color mode. Through an app, you need to set the desired rise time, and by that time, they will gradually light up as if someone in the house had just turned on the lights or opened the curtain.
Of course, this is not enough for carefree waking up as in summer from the bright sunlight, but still getting up on dark winter mornings with this light is a little easier.
5. No working in pajamas
Unobvious fact, but what you wear directly affects your productivity. So if you work at home, you should not wear sleeping clothes or bed clothes!
I’ve seen this tip in various sources, but in my own experience I’ve noticed that when you’re sitting in your pajamas, the bed just tugs you into its warm embrace.
6. Create a comfortable workplace
Freelancers have long noticed: the more comfortable the desk for work, the higher their productivity. Therefore it is worth allocating a separate area at home for work, it should not be a bedroom or living room, but a separate room. And it should have a comfortable chair and a high table, plus a laptop stand. There should be outlets, lights, diaries, post-its and all that. Nothing homely, no distractions.
It is desirable to decorate the workplace also ecologically and beautifully. In the winter I decorate the room with fresh flowers, dried flowers and potted plants, candles and garlands. Also, when it gets dark, I turn on a lamp to create local lighting.
7. Reward yourself for getting things done
It’s always harder to get up and work during the cold season, so you should praise yourself more often. I try to get plenty of rest so I don’t get overwhelmed. And sometimes I go to a coffee shop for the best latte in town instead of home coffee. Yes, it’s a long time. Yes, it’s expensive. But I deserve it!
8. Take a shower when you want to cheer up
This tip is worth using when you feel like you’re literally “falling asleep on the go”.
Showers are great for invigorating body and refreshing thoughts. Even if you’ve already taken a shower in the morning, you should try it again (for example, after lunch) and you’ll see how your productivity grows! Of course, it is desirable not to “soften up” while standing under warm streams, but to make the temperature a little lower than usual. And, of course, “hard level” is a contrast shower.
Usually such a trip to the bathroom takes 5-7 minutes, which fits well with a short break between tasks. And since I work from home, I’m pretty comfortable pulling this trick if it gets totally overwhelming. When I don’t have time, I can just wash my face with cold water.
9. Take vitamins
So far, I’m just a beginner biohacker. But among my habits is a regular body checkup once every six months, during which I check my vitamins, among other things.
It all started when I went to the doctor a year and a half ago with complaints of severe fatigue, sleepiness and apathy. As a person who has never in his life visited an endocrinologist, I had already imagined a bunch of terrible diagnoses. But everything turned out to be more prosaic: I was found to be severely deficient in vitamin D. I was only 4 ng/ml, whereas the norm was 30-100 ng/ml. “How did you even get to me?” – I remember the doctor asking.
Since then, I’ve been trying to watch my vitamin and mineral balance and from September to April I take vitamin D on a mandatory basis. And along with it other vitamins that I am lacking at a particular moment.
10. Take a vacation
When it’s cold and dark outside, it’s mostly hard for people to bear. It’s the kind of weather that makes you want to snuggle up in a blanket and do nothing.
Personally, I can’t beat myself at this time and make myself work. But I use this time to my advantage anyway – I just take November or December off.
After vacation and the accumulation of new strength is not so dreary to look at the cold dusky winter weekdays. I want to manage to do more things and do them faster, because my “battery is full of charge”. That way things don’t seem like an unbearable burden.
11. Come up with winter rituals
The main problem with staying productive this time of year is that we spend too much time on misery and longing. But if you try to “rewrite” the winter experience, life becomes easier.
For example, a my girlfriend is a snowboarder, so when it snows, she gets very excited about it. I don’t know much about winter sports, but I use my own know-how. I have come up with fun activities that I do only in November and February (I cook certain foods, watch certain movies).
Let’s say I free up December to reread some great series of books. And as a result, winter isn’t so scary for me anymore, because it promises something nice!
12. Dress comfortably
Sometimes, in winter, you want to move mountains. But as soon as you imagine that in order to do that you have to wear pantyhose, pants, and a hat that shocks you… So all desire to go somewhere or do something disappears!
In order to make life easier, you can get really comfortable clothes. Find a weightless jacket (which is not cold outdoors and not hot indoors), hats (in which you do not look humanoid) and shoes (which are lightweight and do not slip). If winter clothes are getting in the way of life, it’s time to replace them with others. It’s not cheap, but it’s worth it.
13. Clean the house more often
This is not the main way to cheer yourself up and energize yourself in winter, but just one of several. But it helps me a lot.
In the winter, I clean my house 2-3 times more often than usual, that is, instead of 1-2 times, I do it 2-4 times a week. It’s usually a little bit of cleaning, consisting of organizing the space more rationally. It is important to me that every thing has its place and this order is maintained.
The cleaning helps my mental state. It’s like meditation: I disconnect from everything, I dissolve in the process. And the result creates a feeling of comfort. I have no feeling of fatigue, only satisfaction. I feel that I am filled with new strength and enthusiasm to work.
14. Run or walk every day
Every morning in winter I run for at least 30 minutes. If I don’t have the energy or desire to do it, I just walk at a comfortable pace. At some point I realized that I just need it, I can’t start my day without it.
And here’s a frequent question arises: “How do I get myself to run in the winter? How do I stay warm?”.
It’s simple: just remind yourself daily that all of your lost pounds will come back in the winter. And to stay warm, you just need to dress in three layers: thermal underwear, an inner jacket and windbreaker, and sweatpants. I have special running shoes with tread and a membrane (it keeps moisture out, but allows your feet to breathe). To avoid getting sick, I put a baffle (a fabric tube) over my nose.
15. Listen to good music
The music greatly influences our productivity. It’s important to have some kind of ritual for turning on the “right music” for a certain type of activity. If its rhythm matches your mood, it’s bingo! Otherwise, it’s only distracting.
Besides, since I have a very versatile job and change activities many times during the day, music helps me get tuned in faster. That’s why my playlist includes Buddha Bar, instrumental music, AC/DC when I need to wake up, and music from my youth when I need to lift my spirits in times of difficulty or exhaustion.